99 BIG Franchisees: Jan & Mark Mansfield

Sweetheart business deal

Partners who are partners

Junior high sweethearts and now 17 years married, Jan and Mark Mansfield have pooled their skills to achieve great success with 39 Sport Clips salons in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

She's a former schoolteacher and stay-at-home mom who took on marketing and operations for their first stores in the late 1990s. He was a petroleum engineer, selling technical software to large oil and gas companies, who gave up his "day job" several years ago to devote himself full-time to the booming family business.

How does so much togetherness--the kind that leads many couples straight to divorce court--translate into so much success? "It's really important to make sure you define each person's role," says Mark. "And then you try not to step on each other's toes."

Their division of labor: Mark handles the franchise recruitment and side of the business; once the store is open, Jan handles marketing and operations.

"We work out of our home. We each have an office--at opposite ends of the house. We email each other a lot," Mark says. "And we go to lunch together every day, which gives us a chance to talk about the business and about our three kids."

Mark became involved with Sport Clips, which he describes as a "sports bar without the bar," first as a customer, when he'd to Houston on business. "My experience there was such a great one--unlike any salon or I'd ever been to before," he recalls.

They signed on as franchisees, buying three and opened their first store in May 1999. "Starting a franchise in a new market was a struggle," Mark says. But the hard work paid off: they became area developers in 2002 and have opened 8 to 10 stores each year since. They're on track to build out more than 70 stores in the market.

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